Healthcare is a human right

National Faith Leaders Push for Medicaid Expansion and Black Maternal Health Investments in Budget Reconciliation

For Immediate Release: June 14, 2022
Contact: Audrey Carroll,, 202-601-7875  

National Faith Leaders Push for Medicaid Expansion and Black Maternal Health Investments in Budget Reconciliation 

Interfaith leaders urge Congress to end health inequities in the United States 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, faith leaders across the country sent a letter to Capitol Hill urging Senators to pass a budget reconciliation package that improves state Medicaid infrastructure, addresses the Black maternal health crisis, and makes the Affordable Care Act tax credits permanent. The letter was signed by more than 20 faith organizations. 

Mary J. Novak, Executive Director, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, said: 

“The American Rescue plan made health care accessible for the first time to over 2 million working families through the innovation of premium tax credits. Those life-saving supports should be extended through budget reconciliation. That, however, is not enough. Congress must provide health care once and for all to the 2.2 million people living in the 12 states that have refused to expand Medicaid and enact the provisions of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus. No matter where we live or what we look like, all people deserve access to health care to live full and abundant lives. This goal can—and must—be realized now.” 

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said: 

“Judaism is clear that we have a communal obligation to ensure everyone can access health care. In fact, revered Jewish philosopher and physician Maimonides placed health care first on his list of the ten most important services must offer its residents if the city may be worthy for a great scholar to live there (Mishneh Torah, Hilchot De’ot IV:23). In the United States, the federal government’s continued underinvestment in the health care system has produced stark racial and socioeconomic disparities and left millions of people without access to quality, affordable care. We urge Congress to advance a reconciliation bill that improves Medicaid, addresses the Black maternal health crisis, and makes Affordable Care Act premium tax credits permanent. Only by making bold investments in health care can Congress begin to repair the health inequities that have plagued our nation for far too long.” 

Rev. Adam Russell Taylor, President, Sojourners, said: 

“As Congress debates budget priorities this fall, our elected representatives have an important opportunity to protect and enhance the health of countless Americans in vulnerable communities and situations. The measures we are advocating for in this letter—improving Medicaid’s infrastructure including closing the coverage gap, addressing the Black maternal health crisis by passing the Momnibus Act, and making the Affordable Care Act’s Premium Tax Credits permanent—would significantly improve the lives of many low-income people, especially mothers and children, and help move us toward a more equitable nation where everyone is valued, and everyone can thrive.” 

Dr. Ghada Khan, Executive Director, American Muslim Health Professionals, said:  

“We stand at the precipice of change. The time is now to address our nation’s maternal health morbidity and mortality crisis with bold policies securing the critical resources, community based and social supports, protections for the disproportionately impacted Black and Indigenous people, and the high-quality health care coverage necessary to thrive for pregnant and postpartum mothers.” 

Susan Henry-Crowe, General Secretary, General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, said: 

“I join my colleagues in urging Congress to prioritize the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act in reconciliation legislation. Women of color deserve a birthing process that leads to continued health and wholeness. As United Methodists, we affirm that healthcare is a basic human right and must work to ensure that birthing mothers not only survive, but thrive.” 

Michelle Dunne, Executive Director, Franciscan Action Network, said: 

“As Franciscans, we believe that all human life is sacred and that as Americans, we must ensure that our sisters and brothers have access to needed healthcare at all stages of life.” 

Rev. Keith Caldwell, Pastor, Seay-Hubbard United Methodist Church, said: 

“It is both our nation’s moral and fiscal responsibility to close the Medicaid coverage gap. We cannot afford not to cover our people.” 

Read the full text of the letter.

The letter was signed by the following organizations: Alliance of Baptists; Church World Service; Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces; Dean’s Advisor for Political and Economic Justice, Virginia Theological Seminary; Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Franciscan Action Network; Friends Committee on National Legislation; Georgia Interfaith Public Policy Center; National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd; National Council of Churches; National Council of Jewish Women; Seay-Hubbard UMC; Sojourners; The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society; Union for Reform Judaism; United Church of Christ Justice and Local Church Ministries; South Carolina Christian Action Council; The Episcopal Church; American Muslim Health Professionals; NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice; Presbyterian Church USA